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Northern Ireland Semester

Northern Ireland Semester

A 19th century mansion known as Lakeside Manor, located in Belfast is home to the BestSemester's Northern Ireland Semester program. Joining with other students, together you'll explore and experience firsthand the beauty, history, simplicity, and yet complexity of this Irish isle. Whether it be through the academic teachings in the classroom, a local fieldtrip excursion to ancient castles, worshiping in century-old cathedrals, climbing the gorgeous green cliffs, or while sitting across from a local at the dinner table, students will gain new insight that will shape their worldviews and faith.

Find out more

All Messiah approved semester-long, off-campus programs are approved and designed to meet the requirements for the Experiential Learning Initiative (ELI). To learn more about the process, please explore the ELI Off-Campus Study Information Page.

  • Students will complete all of the Experiential Learning Initiative (ELI) requirements that are a part of this program.
  • Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors
  • 2.75 GPA or higher
  • Since studying off-campus for a semester is a privilege, please note the following implications of being placed on probation at Messiah University:
    • Chapel Probation: A student currently on chapel probation for the first time (or with an impending chapel probation for the upcoming semester) will be required to communicate or meet with the Director of the Intercultural Office to determine the potential impact on the student's upcoming semester off-campus. If a student has been placed on cahpel probation more than once during their time at Messiah, they will not be eligible to study off-campus for a semester.
    • Academic Probation or Low GPA: A student on academic probation or whose GPA drops below 2.75 will not be eligible to study off-campus.
    • Disciplinary Probation: A student who has been placed on disciplinary probation at any time during the off-campus study applications / acceptance process will be required to meet with the Director of the Intercultural Office to determine the potential impact on the student's upcoming semester off-campus.

Courses may meet major or general education requirements.

Courses will appear on Messiah transcripts with letter grades.

Students will meet their third language/cross-cultural requirement by participating in this program. Students will not earn 3 credits, rather the requirement will be waived.

Pass/Fail Option

During their university careers, students may take a maximum of four courses on a pass/fail (P/F) basis with these conditions:

  • Such a course must be from a discipline other than those required for the student's major or minor.
  • Courses fulfilling requirements for a major, minor, or general education may not be used.
  • Students may declare their intention to take a course under the Pass/Fail option when they register or through the first calendar week of classes at the beginning of the new term. Students may also select to return to the letter grade system during this same time period. The selesction cannot be changed after the first calendar week of classes.
  • The cut-off point to obtain a P is a C-
  • The instructor will submit only conventional letter grades to the Registrar's Office. This office will then convert the grade to P or F. (An instructor does not know which students are taking a course on a pass/fail basis.)

The first FIVE DAYS of your classes are critical:

Recognizing that courses change while abroad, a student is required to communicate to the Registrar’s Office within the first FIVE DAYS of classes if their Off-Campus Course Approval Form in Terra Dotta has changed since the original submission/approval. Specifically, if a student desires to change a course to a pass/fail instead of a letter grade, this must be approved by Messiah University Registrar’s Office within the first FIVE DAYS of classes at the host partner program.


Students are required to take no fewer than 12 credits towards their overall degree requirements and no more than 18 credits. These 12-18 credits include courses taken as pass/fail and letter grades. However, in addition to those 12-18 degree credits, students who would like to audit an academic course for no credit are permitted to do so for up to one 4 credit hour course for the sake of learning, cultural immersion or personal interest at no additional charge. This audited course will not appear on the Messiah University student’s transcript.

What do you pay?

TOTAL COSTS = Messiah tuition + Messiah room + Messiah board + Student services fee + $1,910 off-campus study fee*

*Note: Off-campus study fee increases annually at the same rate as the yearly tuition increase.

Explore possible scholarships for this program. 

These Costs Include:

  • tuition, housing, meals
  • educational excursions
  • pre-departure, and re-entry orientation
  • international travel insurance
  • student services fee
    • Student Services fee include access to various services available to students, including internet access, the Learning & Writing Centers, Career Services, Disability Services, Library, Department of Safety, Intercultural Office Off-Campus Programs, and other offices that provide services to students both on and off campus.

Note: additional fees students may encounter include (but are not limited to) transportations, visas, passports, immunizations, and course fees.

Credit Limit Policy for Semester-Long, Off-Campus Program

Typically when students study off-campus in Messiah-approved, semester-long programs, students earn between 13 and 18 credits. All students must be enrolled in at least 12 credits.

The tuition/fees charged for Messiah's approved study abroad programs permits a student to complete 12-18 credits. Messiah University will process up to 18 credits. If a student completes more than 18 credits and would like the additional credits applied to their transcript, additional tuition will be charged for credits over 18 and would be assessed after the official transcript is received/processed by Messiah.

Updated 08 April 2019


Messiah Pre-Approval Deadlines

  • Fall - December 1
  • Spring - April 1

*Pre-approval deadlines are one year in advance from the desired semester abroad.

Northern Ireland Semester Program Deadlines

  • Fall - June 1
  • Spring - November 1

Rolling addmissions; students are strongly encouraged to apply early!

Off-Campus study is a time of challenge and change. The following are some things you should understand about this program and the culture in which you'll be living before you participate. Students at NIS should anticipate:

  • Sidewalks are uneven and students will be walking extensively around town. In fact, there's a great deal of walking in the program. Virtually every field trip involves walking and/or hiking.
  • Experiencing potentially challenging personal, religious, and cultural learning, lectures, frield trips, and assignments.
  • Public transportation to be used into the city. Lucky for you, there's a bus stop located across the way from the Manor.
  • The weather being mild, cool, and wet. It's helpful to layer your clothing and pack things that dry fast.
  • Using the British Pound (GBP) as currency. This is also used in England, Scotland, and Wales. However, the Euro is used in The Republic of Ireland. Major credit cards are accepted and used at most places.
  • ADA laws are similar to the USA, but accessibility is more limited than in the USA.
  • Crime rate is low, but students can expect to take the same precautions to guard against from street crime as they would in large US cities.
  • Living in close quarters with other NIS students who will be sharing common spaces, bathrooms, and meals together. Lakeside Manor is a 19th century mansion and has it's quirks! Specifically, the heating unit takes much longer than anticipated to heat a room, so dress appropriately!

Students are responsible for their own transportation to and from this program.